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Our Favorite Cheesecake Recipe

My husband and my mother in law's favorite cake is cheesecake so last year I taught myself how to make one. I basically mixed The New York Times Classic Cheesecake recipe with Alton Brown's Sour Cream Cheesecake recipe.
I find it helpful to watch Alton Brown's video on it first before getting started. I basically like flavor of The New York Times Classic Cheesecake but find Alton Brown's way of cooking is more fool-proof. So watch the video just for the cooking technique but not for actual ingredients.
Here to share the recipe and drop me a note about what you think!

Cheesecake recipe

FOR THE CRUST:
  • 18 whole graham crackers (about 10 ounces/284 grams)
  • ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • ¾ cup/170 grams (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 2 pounds/904 grams cream cheese (four 8-ounce/226-gram packages), room temperature - make sure it is room temperature!
  •  ½ cup/113 grams sour cream
  • 1 cup/201 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest - this is basically one lemon zested
  • 4 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  •  ¼ cup/32 grams all-purpose flour

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush some of the melted butter around a 9 by 3-inch cake pan on the bottom and the sides. Adhere parchment to the bottom.
  2. Put the graham crackers in a zip lock bag and use your hand to crumble the graham crackers. Instead of using a food processor, we crumble the graham crackers by hand so it has more texture when we bake them. In a bowl, combine crumbled graham crackers, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using) and mix it together. Add melted butter. Using your hands or spatula, mix well until no dry spots remain (crumb mixture should not be sandy or dry, but hold small clumps when pressed together).
  3. Press crust evenly into the bottom and at least 1 1/2-inches up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure the bottom is as even as possible. Bake on the middle rack until crust is set and just starting to brown around the edges, 10 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling. 
  5. Prepare the filling: Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat on high until mixture is completely smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary, about 4 minutes.
  6. Reduce speed to medium and 1 at a time, add eggs and yolk, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each egg is added. Add lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add flour and beat just to blend, until no lumps remain.
  7. Pour filling into prepared crust (if filling goes above the crust, that is O.K.).
  8. We are preparing the water bath for the cheesecake. Find another oven safe container that will fit your 9" cheesecake pan. Optional, put a towel on the container so hot water doesn't splash around. Pour hot water into the container.
  9. Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Place cheesecake into a preheated water bath, in the oven for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and open the door for one minute. Close the door for one more hour. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place in the refrigerator for 6 hours to completely cool before serving.
  10. When ready to serve, place the entire cake pan into a hot water bath for about 15 seconds. Unmold onto a cake round or serving dish. I usually use knife to separate the sides of the cheesecake, then put the entire cake pan into hot water bath for 15 seconds, flip the cheesecake into a plate to remove it from the cheesecake pan and then flip it again to serve.
  11. To slice, place your knife into a hot water bath and wipe dry each time you make a pass through the cake.

 Go ahead and practice your cheesecake skill just in time for the holiday. 

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